The Waiting Game

After being refused entry to South Africa due to the Corvid-19 border restrictions, we decided we would return to Walvis Bay where we had stayed earlier on in the month to wait things out, as we had no idea how long this situation might last.

In the 2 days it took us to drive from the Noordoewer border with South Africa back to Walvis Bay, the government had implemented a country wide lockdown. We were lucky to arrive when we did, as travel between regions was no longer permitted.

The first thing to do after arriving was to extend our visas. This was an easy process as there is an immigration office at the Walvis Bay port. It was just a case of dropping our passports off in the morning and then collecting them in the afternoon.

As we don’t know how long we will need to remain in Namibia before international flights are allowed to restart, we have rented a nice house on the waterfront. The view is absolutely beautiful, there are huge flocks of flamingos in the bay and we can actually lay in bed whilst watching the dolphins catching fish in the early morning when the water is flat.

It is such a change to life on the road, remaining in one place and sleeping in a real bed is something we are not used to anymore. Valentina has been making the most of the oven, with cakes appearing on a daily basis.

Nearly a month has passed already, we have only been allowed out to exercise and to make essential trips to the shops for food. We have been taking advantage of this time by giving everything a good clean. It’s absolutely amazing how the fine African dust can find it way past even the tightest of seals.

However, as there are no longer any active cases of Corona virus in Namibia, it has come as welcome news that the government is lifting the internal travel ban. This means we are finally allowed to travel unrestricted within Namibia,

A problem we face now is the Defender is in urgent need of an oil change. We brought oil for one service which we did some time ago, but we have been covering many more miles than we expected.

Our Defender has the latest 2.2 Puma engine. The European version of this vehicle has the emission controlling diesel particle filter (DPF). DPF equipped Defenders require a very specific blend of oil, which is readily available in Europe. However, as DPF’s are yet to reach Africa, there is no demand for DPF compatible oil, making it near impossible to source.

After many phone calls and even obtaining quotes to have it shipped from Europe, we have finally found a solution. Luckily we have been able to find what we need locally, but it is something to take into consideration if you ever plan to bring a new vehicle on an overland trip.

All that is left to do is source replacement oil filter and we will be good to get back on the road and continue to explore Namibia.

The new government restrictions have also removed the ban on fishing, so this week we have made the most of our proximity to the sea. We headed north on the recommendation of some local fishermen to an area called Mile 17.

We had some great fun driving along the beach with the crashing waves. Trying our best to dodge the spray as the larger waves broke and sent water right into our path.

The weather has been quite fresh the past few weeks, but the day of our fishing trip, the wind had changed around 180 degrees so it was now coming in over the desert. The wind was strong in the morning, bringing very hot sandy air, which was quite unpleasant to be out in. But it died down around lunch time giving us a bit of a break from the sand blasting against our faces.

We first stopped off at a small beach just outside Swakopmund to collect some clams to use as bait before we continued on the salt road to Mile 17. We were after Galjoen and I’m pleased to say the day was a success. In only a few minutes of the first cast we were reeling in our first catch. We spent all day on the beach and finished up just as the sun was setting with a nice bag of fresh fish to keep us going for the next few days.

This morning I made a trip to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to obtain a permit for the offroad zone in the desert close to Dune 7. So after I have changed the oil, we hope to head into the desert for some dune bashing. Lockdown is becoming not so bad after all.

With no news on a possible way to return to Italy, we are going to make the most of our time here in Namibia now that the lockdown has been relaxed. We will head back to Etosha national park next week, to see if we can finally get the perfect picture of a Lion.

But for now, we hope everyone is safe and well.

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